I could say Vermont Yankee is always on my mind — because of fear. Fear that this great-grandfather of a plant continues doing what it’s been doing for years on end: failing! Up to now, the problems that occurred were bad enough (and I’m sure we didn’t even hear of all of them) but the “big” failure could happen any time.
We have had those accidents, Three Mile Island here nearby, Chernobyl, and unfortunately countless others all over the world. Distances don’t hinder radiation — we know that. The latest accident, Fukushima, happened to a plant built by GE; the same design as Yankee. With a fault in the design as I have read, which was known from the beginning but didn’t get fixed, assumably because of the costs that would have been involved.
The costs in life and health are not of interest to the companies who run nuclear plants and lying seems to be international policy. Nuclear energy being “green” is one of the fairy-tales around: Besides all the fossil fuel energy used to mine the uranium and bring the nuclear fuel to the plant, what is “green” in an operation that has a highly poisonous waste, poisonous for the next 10 thousand years, 20 thousand?
And no place to hide it — naturally, how can we know what happens even in 500 years? If that’s not enough of a reason to shut this plant down — and it has to be decommissioned safely with a green field, as soon as possible, there are quite a few others. For example the lack of reliability of Entergy, who has lied about conditions more than once, delays maintenance and spends money on countless lawyers.
Naturally, I do know that the State cannot legally order the plant to shut down for safety reasons, a rather hard to understand fact. It is also hard to understand why the NRC continues to grant permits to Entergy’s Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant and why they are so willing to gamble with our lives and our environment when an accident at Vermont Yankee could be just around the corner. Have they ever denied a permit to any nuclear plant? That would be interesting to know.
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